16 Feb 2021

Student saving tips for 2021

From Nine To Noon, 11:30 am on 16 February 2021

Universities are kicking back into gear for the year and that means lots of young people are figuring out how everything works.

Christopher Walsh from financial education company Moneyhub has prepared 50 Student Money Maximising Tips.

teenage boy looks up

Photo: Matese Fields / Unsplash

Money management isn't really taught in high school so school-leavers often hit a steep learning curve with it, Walsh tells Kathryn Ryan.

Walsh recommends students save up ahead of time, if possible.

"People should look at making sure they have enough of a cushion to shelter them going into Uni. Save up two or three grand before you start, work a lot of summer hours, try not to spend too much."

See if you're eligible to apply for any scholarships. Many people aren't aware of tax-free scholarships and a lot go unclaimed, especially grants for Māori and Pasifika students, Walsh says.

"There's a lot of money out there and we need to have a lot more students looking at it… it's not all based on [academic] results."

Students, like everyone else, need to be very careful with credit cards, Walsh says.

Banks usually give students a $500 or $1,000 limit on a credit card to start - which doesn't take long to max out.

"If you start dipping into it early suddenly when you need the money for something real… then you're in big trouble."

"[Credit card debt] very much is long-term debt. And it forms those habits early on, which aren't great."

Day to day, free money management apps can help you keep your spending on track.

"If you can actually see your money… as you spend it, then that's going to make [your spending] feel more real to you and then you're going to change your behaviour."

Finding a part-time job that works with your study will teach you about money as you earn it. Walsh recommends Student Job Search.

"This is the hustle economy and you need to look at ways to make money and just protect yourself from who knows what."